Interview questions are always a nerve-wracking situation for any job candidate. This is because you’re on the spot and have to come up with coherent responses, all designed to reveal something about you and your store of knowledge.
There’s also a lot riding on healthcare interview questions, given the fact that you may be able to secure a position at a coveted company you really want to work for. By preparing as much as possible, you should be less stressed during the interview, and better able to handle any question they put to you.
Here are some of the most commonly asked interview questions for healthcare aspiring workers, and some recommendations on how you should respond to them.
- Why do you want to work for us?
This is a good opportunity for you to show that you have done your research and you know what the company is all about. Bring out some of the points that you discovered in your research, and show that you appreciate certain aspects of the company, perhaps its approach to technology or innovation, or the fact that they promote from within on a regular basis.
Whatever came up in your research, make sure to use it during the interview when asked this specific question.
- Tell me a little bit about yourself
When asked this question, start with an overview of your education history, and move on to your employment history after that. It’s okay to include some of the interests you have outside the job, to show your motivation and passion for certain things.
If you like doing volunteer work, for instance, it would be great to bring this up, because it shows a caring personality, and that you’re not always fueled by the prospect of monetary compensation.
- What is your greatest strength?
Talk about what you feel are your legitimately greatest strengths, also referencing a strength that aligns with the company’s mission and objectives. If you can bring out some of the points that you read in the job description that you’re interviewing for, that would be even better.
It shows how suitable you are for the position because it actually falls into the area of one of your greatest strengths.
- What would you say is your biggest weakness?
This is a question that is inherently fraught with danger, and you should be very careful about how you respond to it. One thing you should not do is deliver the standard cop-out about being a perfectionist and feeling the need to constantly produce perfect results. It’s okay to say that you’re always looking to improve your skills and your knowledge, but the “I’m a perfectionist” answer is one that every interviewer has heard tons of times in the past.
One safe answer that you might stick with is that you’re uncomfortable with confrontation and that in the past you have preferred to try to keep the peace rather than actually do what might have been best under the circumstances. You can follow this up by saying that since then, you have learned that sometimes it’s necessary to say things to people that they don’t want to hear, but that they should hear in order to bring a successful resolution to the issue.
- Why did you choose the healthcare industry?
When asking a question like this, the interviewer is trying to establish what is your motivation and how you relate to the healthcare industry. For that reason, your response should demonstrate your intention to better people’s lives, and it would be very beneficial if you can show your humanity and compassion with an anecdote.
By now, you should have experienced something relevant to the question which you can share with the interviewer, to show why you became involved with healthcare. This might be an incident that happened within your family or within your circle of friends, or perhaps to a patient that particularly got your attention.
- How would you handle a situation where you have to break the bad news to a patient?
The point of asking a question like this is to find out a little about your interpersonal skills, and about your compassion toward others. Your response should demonstrate that you are aware of the needed steps when announcing bad news to a patient.
For example, make sure to detail how you would first gather all clinical information before introducing yourself to family members, and then relating that you have some bad news to deliver. Then, of course, it will be necessary to honestly explain the situation so that everyone understands it clearly. Then it would be necessary to allow them time to digest the information you have imparted, before explaining what they can expect in the near future.
- Why exactly did you leave your last employer?
Whatever you do, don’t trash your previous employer, because the interviewer will probably start thinking about how you might do something similar when you leave this company. Even if conditions were wretched at your last position, stay as positive as you can in referencing the previous company. If possible, try and shift the focus of your answer to this new opportunity. Rather than pointing out all the shortcomings of your past employer, talk about how you really are looking forward to this new opportunity, and how you think it aligns better for your career goals.
- What goals have you set yourself for your career?
This is not the time to explain where you hope to be 20 or 30 years from now. Instead, give a thoughtful response on what you anticipate for the next few years, and be sure to include this new company as part of your goals and objectives. Be sure to point out the fact that you feel this company can help you advance on your chosen career path, and can help you to become a better professional in the industry.